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                                                                                   August  2012  |  GPoT  PB  no.  33

Turkey until   mid-­‐2012   despite   the   fact   that   citizens   of   all   other   candidate   countries   have   enjoyed  visa-­‐free  travel  to  Schengen  area  since  2009.  The  Turkish  diplomats  had  mastered  to   negotiate   roadmap   to   visa-­‐free   travel   in   an   exchange   for   the   initial   of   the   readmission   agreement,  implementation  of  which  is  considered  key  in  securing  EU’s  eastern  borders.  The   issues  of  migration  and  visa  policy  are  covered  in  the  negotiating  chapter  Justice,  Freedom   and  Security,  which  has  been  blocked  by  the  Republic  of  Cyprus.  Demonstrating  that  the  said   topics  represent  joint  interest  of  Turkey  and  the  EU,  the  chapter  was  added  to  the  positive   agenda  launched  this  May  with  the  aim  to  keep  Turkey’s  accession  process  alive.  Despite  the   fact   that   visa   liberalization   and   readmission   agreement   will   both   be   negotiated   outside   of   Turkey’s   accession   framework,   reforms   adopted   in   these   areas   are   likely   to   ease   Turkey’s   alignment   with   the   provisions   of   the   relevant   chapter   of   the   acquis   communautaire.   Visa   liberalization   and   readmission   agreement   are   thus   important   factors   influencing   Turkey’s   protracted  journey  to  the  EU.    

Introduction After   the   opening   of   the   13th   negotiating   chapter   in   Turkey’s   European   Union   (EU)   accession  framework  in  2010,  there  was  a   gap   of   two   years   until   the   next   major   development  in  relations  between  the  two   parties   occurred.   “Our   aim   is   to   keep   the   accession   process   alive   and   put   it   properly   back  on  track  after  a  period  of  stagnation   [.   .   .]   The   positive   agenda   is   not   only   to    

support but   to   go   beyond   the   accession   negotiations,”   (European   Commission,   2012a)   proclaimed   the   EU   Commissioner   for   Enlargement   and   European   Neighbor-­‐ hood   Policy,   Štefan   Füle   at   the   press   conference   held   on   the   occasion   of   the   initiation   of   the   revitalization   process   between   EU   and   Turkey   in   Ankara   this   May.  The  idea  of  positive  agenda  was  first   articulated   by   the   European   Commission   (2011a)   in   its   strategy   paper   on   enlarge-­‐ ment   policy,   which   called   for   “a   more  


ABSTRACT European  Union  (EU)  has  been  reluctant  to  start  visa  liberalization  talks  with  



However, the   revival   came   at   a   time   when   Turkey   signalized   it   would   suspend   its   relations   with   the   Council   of   the   EU   once   the   Republic   of   Cyprus   assumes   the   presidency  in  July  2012.  Turkey,  one  of  the   guarantors  of  the  Republic  of  Cyprus,  does   According   to   Turkish   Minister   for   EU   not   have   any   diplomatic   relations   with   the   Affairs   and   Chief   Negotiator,   Egemen   Greek   Cypriot   government.   After   Turkish   Bağış   (2011),   eighteen   out   of   thirty-­‐five   Minister   for   Foreign   chapters   in   Turkey’s   ac-­‐ Affairs,   Ahmet   Davut-­‐ Presuming  that  the  unresolved   cession   framework   have   oğlu   announced   that,   Cyprus  problem  will  keep   been   blocked   for   “pure-­‐ “none   of   the   ministries   resonating  in  the  EU-­‐Turkey   ly  political  reasons.”  This   led  him  to  proclaim  that   relations  long  after  the  Republic  of   [and]   institutions   of   Turkish   Republic   will   be   Cyprus  hands  over  the  presidency   the  latest  initiative  laun-­‐ in   contact   with   the   EU   to  another  member  state,  it  might   ched   by   Füle   marked   a   presidency   in   any   of   the   be  rather  difficult  to  imagine  any   “turning   point”   (Bağış,   activities   related   to   substantive  improvement  in  the   2012a)  in  the  protracted   Greek   Cypriot   presiden-­‐ long  term,  not  to  mention   talks.   Two   of   the   frozen   cy”   (Karadeniz   &   Came-­‐ breakthrough,  which  would  “go   chapters   together   with   ron-­‐Moore,   2012),   Ege-­‐ beyond  the  accession   other   six   ones   were   men   Bağış   confirmed   negotiations”  as  was  confidently   added   to   the   positive   that   the   Republic   of   expressed  by  Štefan  Füle.   agenda   (Ministry   for   EU   Cyprus   would   be   com-­‐ Affairs  of  the  Republic  of   pletely   ignored   and   that   Turkey,  2012a,  p.  1),  thus  enabling  Turkey   the   Turkish   Ministry   for   EU   Affairs   “[has   to   align   its   laws   with   relevant   EU   already]   begun   the   preparations   for   the   legislation   without   having   to   wait   for   the   presidency   of   Ireland”   (Hürriyet   Daily   stalled  negotiation  process1  to  unlock.   News,   2012a),   which   will   take   over   at   the   beginning  of  2013.                                                                                                               1

Following   Turkey's   noncompliance   with   the   provisions   of   the   Additional   Protocol   (2005)   to   the   Ankara   Treaty,   which   made   it   mandatory   for   Turkey   to   extend   its   Customs   Union   to   all   new   member   states   and   thus   open   its   ports   and  airports  to  the  vessels  and  aircrafts  of  the   Republic   of   Cyprus,   the   European   Council   decided   in   2006   to   provisionally   suspended   eight   chapters   in   Turkey's   negotiating   framework.   It   ruled   that   no   chapter   could   be   closed   until   Turkey   conforms   to   the   require-­‐ ments   of   the   Additional   Protocol.   Turkey   is   unwilling  to  open  its  ports  and  airports  unless   EU  enables  direct  trade  for  the   Turkish  Cypriot   community   as   promised   in   the   aftermath   of   the   failed   referenda   on   Annan   Plan.   The   plan   envisaging   the   reunification   of   the   divided   Cyprus  was  rejected  by  the  Greek  Cypriots  and      

According to   Najšlová   and   Weiss   (2012),   the   role   of   the   presidency   even   though   limited   is   particularly   essential   when   it   comes   to   accession   talks,   because   “the   presidency  chairs  the  meetings  at  the  level   of  ministers  –  the  Association  Council  and   the   intergovernmental   conference   that   opens   and   closes   the   negotiating   chap-­‐ ters”   (p.   8).   Given   that   it   has   been   two   years   since   the   opening   of   the   last   chapter,   it   could   be   argued   that   Turkey’s   stand-­‐off   attitude   towards   the   presidency   in   the   second   half   of   2012   will   have   symbolic   implications   rather   than   practical                                                                                                                                                                 approved   by   the   Turkish   Cypriots   few   days   before  the  Republic  of  Cyprus  joined  the  EU.  


constructive   and   positive   relationship”   (p.  19)   with   Turkey   and   acknowledged   that,   “Turkey   is   a   key   country   for   the   security   and   prosperity   of   the   European   Union”  (p.  18).  


consequences   on   the   speed   of   its   access-­‐ ion  process.  On  the  other  hand,  presuming   that   the   unresolved   Cyprus   problem   will   keep  resonating  in  the  EU-­‐Turkey  relations   long   after   the   Republic   of   Cyprus   hands   over   the   office   to   another   member   state,   it   might   be   rather   difficult   to   imagine   any   substantive   improvement   in   the   long   term,  not  to  mention  breakthrough,  which   would   “go   beyond   the   accession   negotia-­‐ tions”   as   was   confidently   expressed   by   Štefan  Füle.   Putting   the   prospects   of   general   progress   in   the   membership   talks   aside,   this   paper   will   focus   on   the   justice   and   home   affairs   portfolio   and   analyze   the   evolution   of   collaboration   between   Turkey   and   EU   on   the   issue   of   immigration   and   visa   liberali-­‐ zation   outside   of   the   accession   frame-­‐ work.  Even  though  blocked  by  the  Repub-­‐ lic  of  Cyprus,  Justice,  Freedom  and  Security   chapter  was  added  to  the  positive  agenda   (Ministry   for   EU   Affairs   of   the   Republic   of   Turkey,   2012a,   p.  1),   thus   demonstrating   that   the   topics   of   immigration   and   visa   policy   are   regarded   as   “areas   of   joint   interest“   (European   Commission,   2012a)   for   both   sides.   The   Danish   Presidency   of   the   Council   of   the   EU   in   the   first   half   of   2012   managed   to   deliver   a   long-­‐awaited   consensus   on   the   text   of   the   readmission   agreement2   between   Turkey   and   EU.   Being   considered   key   in   securing   EU’s   eastern   borders,   the   document   represents   one   of   the   policy   areas   where   EU   needs   Turkey’s   good   political   will   and   assistance   in   order   to   diminish   the   number   of   irregular  immigrants  entering  its  territory.   The   Turkish   diplomats   mastered   to   negotiate   the   initial   in   an   exchange   for                                                                                                               2   Readmission   agreements   enable   countries   to  

return illegal  migrants  residing  in  their  territory  to   the   country   of   the   migrants’   origin   or   to   third   country   from   which   the   migrants   entered   their   territory.   More   information   about   readmission   agreements  is  provided  in  the  next  chapter.  


EU’s promise  to  launch  the  process  of  visa   liberalization   for   Turkish   citizens,   which   has   been   demanded   by   Ankara   for   a   couple   of   years.   The   following   chapters   explain  the  main  features  of  EU’s  policy  on   readmission   agreements   and   visa   facilita-­‐ tion  with  third  countries,  and  also  address   developments   associated   with   EU-­‐Turkey   talks  in  these  particular  areas.  

EU’s policy   on   readmission   agree-­‐ ments  and  visa  facilitation   Given   that   “every   year,   national   autho-­‐ rities   in   the   EU   apprehend   more   than   500,000   irregular   migrants,”   (Directorate   General   Home   Affairs,   2012)   member   states  with  Germany  taking  the  lead  in  the   forefront   (Moravcsik   &   Nicolaidis,   1999,   p.  63),   once   reluctant   to   give   up   their   sovereignty,  started  to  recognize  the  need   to  create  a  common  immigration  policy  in   the  late  1990s.  EU  did  not  have  competen-­‐ ce   in   the   area   of   justice   and   home   affairs   until   the   entry   into   force   of   Treaty   of   Amsterdam   (1999),   which   introduced   community   procedure.   Countries   such   as   United   Kingdom,   Ireland   and   Denmark   managed   to   negotiate   exemption   clause,   thus  enabling  the  other  member  states  to   adopt  new  laws  and  regulations  by  opting   out  rather  than  vetoing  the  process.  Once   the   relevant   legal   prerequisites   were   laid   down,   development   of   an   effective   policy   framework   was   made   priority   during   the   special  meeting  of  the  European  Council  in   Tampere   in   1999.   Acknowledging   that   “justice  and  home  affairs  has  become  one   of  the  most  important  EU  policies”  (Direc-­‐ torate   General   Justice   and   Home   Affairs,   2002,   p.   1),   the   leaders   came   up   with   over   sixty   points   for   action   to   be   put   in   practice   and   underlined   that   creation   of   common   European   asylum,   visa   and   immigration   programs   was   “one   of   the   milestones”   (p.  2)  of  the  summit.  




The   Treaty   of   Amsterdam   also   authorized   the   Community,   their   successful   conclu-­‐ the   European   Commission   to   conduct   sion   depends   very   much   of   the   ‘leverage’   negotiations   on   readmission   agreements   at  the  Commission’s  disposal.  In  that  con-­‐ with   third   countries,   provided   that   text   it   is   important   to   note   that,   in   the   relevant  mandate  was  given  by  Council  of   field   of   JHA   [Justice   and   Home   Affairs],   the   EU.   Readmission   agreements   are   there  is  little  that  can  be  offered  in  return.   reciprocal   instruments   of   immigration   In   particular   visa   facilitation   or   the   lifting   policy   that   enable   countries   to   return   of   visa   requirement   can   be   a   realistic   unauthorized   migrants   (nationals   of   the   option  in  exceptional  cases  only;  e.g.  Hong   contracting   parties,   third   party   nationals   Kong,   Macao;   in   most   cases   it   is   not”   or   stateless   persons)   residing   in   their   (European  Commission,  2002).  The  defini-­‐ territory   to   the   country   of   origin   or   tion   provided   by   the   Council   of   the   EU   country   from   which   the   immigrants   (2005)   implies   that   “Visa   facilitation   is   entered   their   territory.   Even   though   simplification   of   visa   issuing   procedures   negotiated   by   the   European   Commission,   for   nationals   of   third   countries   who   are   the   agreements   are   “subsequently   imple-­‐ under   visa   obligation”   (p.  2).   The   oppor-­‐ mented   at   a   bilateral   tunity   to   ease   adminis-­‐ level   between   each   trative   processes   rela-­‐ Up  to  date,  European  Commission   member   state   and   the   ted   to   visa   can   thus   be   has  been  given  mandate  to   third   country   concern-­‐ negotiate  readmission  agreements   considered  a  strong  mo-­‐ ed”   (Cassarino,   2010,   tivation  factor  for  states   with  over  twenty  countries.  Even   p.  8).   The   readmission   to   conduct   talks   on   though  the  agreements  are   agreements   conveyed   readmission   agreeme-­‐ reciprocal  in  theory,  they  usually   by   the   EU   are   not   introduce  more  duties  for  the  third   nts   in   good   faith.   How-­‐ standardized   and   are   ever,   the   definition   fur-­‐ country  than  for  the  EU.   drafted   specifically   for   ther  stresses  that,  “Visa   the   country   in   question.   facilitation   is   a   distinct   They  “take  precedence  over  the  provisions   and   separate   issue   from   that   of   visa   of  any  bilateral  agreement  or  arrangement   liberalization,   which   would   entail   the   on  the  readmission  of  persons”  (European   introduction   of   a   visa   free   regime”   Union,  2011)  concluded  between  member   (Council   of   the   European   Union,   2005,   p.   states   and   the   third   country.   Up   to   date,   2).  Three  years  after  the  green  paper  was   European   Commission   has   been   given   published,   the   European   Council   proposed   mandate   to   negotiate   readmission   agree-­‐ a   more   liberal   stance   on   EU’s   visa   ments   with   over   twenty   countries.   Even   facilitation   policy.   In   the   Hague   Program,   though   the   agreements   are   reciprocal   in   i.e.   the   five   year   plan   on   freedom,   justice   theory,  they  usually  introduce  more  duties   and   security,   it   called   on   the   Commission   for  the  third  country  than  for  the  EU.   to   take   action   and   “[.   .   .]   examine,   with   a   view   to   developing   a   common   approach,   In  the  early  years  of  its  readmission  policy,   whether   in   the   context   of   the   EC   European   Commission   prepared   a   Green   readmission   policy   it   would   be   opportune   Paper   on   a   Community   Return   Policy   on   to   facilitate,   on   a   case   by   case   basis,   the   Illegal  Residents  assessing  various  issues  of   issuance   of   short-­‐stay   visas   to   third-­‐ the  immigration  agenda  and  admitted  the   country   nationals,   where   possible   and   on   limits   of   readmission   negotiations   by   a   basis   of   reciprocity,   as   part   of   a   real   concluding   the   following:   “Readmission   partnership  in  external  relations,  including   agreements   are   solely   in   the   interest   of      




migration-­‐related   issues”   (European   Coun-­‐ cil,  2005,  p.  7).   According   to   Trauner   and   Kruse   (2008),   one  of  the  reasons,  which  caused  this  shift   in  position,  was  the  intention  to  “mitigate   the   side   effect   of   the   Eastern   enlargement”   (p.   2).   In   2001,   EU   adopted   regulation   no.   539/2001,   which   unified   visa   policies   of   EU   member   states   by   introducing   a   list   of   countries   (the   so-­‐ called   negative   list),   whose   citizens   were   required  to  have  visa  when  entering  EU  in   general   and   the   Schengen   area3   in   particular.   It   was   mandatory   for   the   new   member   states   of   the   fifth   enlargement   wave  to  introduce  visa  regime  towards  all   states   on   the   negative   list,   thus   also   affecting   the   bilateral   economic   and   political   relations   with   their   neighbors.   The   accession   of   countries   of   the   Central   and   Eastern   Europe   was   often   likened   to   “their   way   back   to   Europe”   and   the   EU   itself   followed   the   same   reasoning   by   claiming  that  the  year  of  2004  was  a  year   of   “reunification   of   a   Europe   that   had   been   divided   for   half   a   century   by   the   Iron   Curtain   and   the   Cold   War”   (European   Union,   2007).   However,   Grabbe   (2001)   believes   that   the   “visa   wall”   which   was   indirectly   built   by   the   negative   list   being   implemented   by   the   new   member   states   had   actually   moved   “the   former   Iron   Curtain  further  east”  (p.  50).   The  situation  got  resolved  once  the  ad-­‐hoc   approach   proposed   by   European   Council   was   slowly   getting   replaced   with   what   could   be   called   a   common   practice   of                                                                                                               3   In   August   2012   the   Schengen   Area   covered   26   countries   including   EU   member   states   such   as   Austria,   Belgium,   Czech   Republic,   Denmark,   Estonia,   Finland,   France,   Germany,   Greece,   Hungary,   Italy,   Latvia,   Lithuania,   Luxembourg,   Malta,   Netherlands,   Poland,   Portugal,   Slovakia,   Slovenia,   Spain,   and   Sweden;   and   countries   which   are   not   part   of   the   EU   such   as   Iceland,   Liechtenstein,  Norway,  and  Switzerland.  


linking the   negotiations   on   readmission   agreements   with   visa   facilitation.   This   liberal   method   was   particularly   visible   in   the   case   of   Western   Balkan   countries.   Upon   the   completion   of   the   procedure,   Ahmet   Davutoğlu   stated,   “It’s   unaccep-­‐ table   that   certain   Balkan   countries   that   are   in   the   initial   stages   of   the   membership   process   and   have   not   begun   negotiations   have   been   given   the   Schengen   privilege,   while   Turkey,   considering   the   level   that   Turkish-­‐EU   relations   have   reached,   has   not”   (Reuters   with   Today's   Zaman,   2009).   As   Table   no.   1   shows,   the   option   to   negotiate   visa   facilitation   alongside   readmission   agreement   has   been   also   given   to   states   situated   outside   of   the   Western   Balkan.   In   fact,   citizens   of   all   candidate   countries   except   for   Turkey   have  been  enjoying  visa-­‐free  travel  to  the   Schengen   area   for   a   couple   of   years   already.   Egemen   Bağış   (2012b)   criticized   EU   for   applying   “discriminatory   and   high-­‐ cost,   low-­‐value   visa   regime”   towards   Turkey,   i.e.   country   that   has   been   an   official  candidate  since  1999.  Talks  on  EU-­‐ Turkey   readmission   agreement   started   in   2005.   However,   due   to   opposition   from   some   member   states,   EU   was   unable   to   link   the   process   to   visa   liberalization   until   mid-­‐2012.  

EU-­‐Turkey readmission  agreement   The   first   health   check   of   the   Schengen   system   carried   out   by   the   European   Commission   between   November   2011   and   April   2012   revealed   the   need   for   a   more   intensive  control  on  EU’s  external  borders.   The   Greek-­‐Turkish   border   was   identified   as   the   primary   security   threat   and   weakness   of   the   Schengen   zone.   The   report   concluded   the   following:   “The   pressure   at   the   Schengen   external   borders   is   focused   on   a   limited   number   of   hot   spots,  in  particular  the  Eastern  Mediterra-­‐  





  Table  no.  1  

Readmission agreement   and  visa  facilitation  

Albania (2006),   Bosnia   and   Herzegovina   (2008),   FYROM   (2008),  Georgia  (2011),  Moldova  (2008),  Montenegro  (2008),   Russia  (2007),  Serbia  (2008),  Ukraine  (2008)  

Readmission agreement  

Hong-­‐Kong (2004),  Macao  (2004),  Pakistan  (2010),  Sri  Lanka   (2005)  

Mandate to  conduct   negotiations  

Azerbaijan, Algeria,   Armenia,   Belarus,   China,   Cape   Verde,   Turkey,  Morocco  

Source: European  Commission  (2012b),  European  Union  (2005).   nean   route   via   Turkey   to   Greece.   In   the   last   three   months   of   2011,   nearly   30,000   irregular   border   crossings   were   detected   at   the   external   borders   and   about   75   percent   of   these   were   on   the   Eastern   Mediterranean   route”   (European   Union,   2012).   Greece   has   faced   harsh   criticism   from   officials   of   member   states   for   its   negligent  approach  to  border  security.  The   Austrian   Minister   for   Home   Affairs,   Johanna   Mikl-­‐Leitner   stated,   “The   [Greek-­‐ Turkish]  border  is  as  open  as  a  barn  door”   (,   2012a).   In   his   response   to   former  French  President  Nicolas  Sarkozy’s   threat   to   exclude   Greece   from   Schengen   zone,   Greek   Minister   for   Citizen   Protec-­‐ tion,   Michalis   Chrisochoidis   held   govern-­‐ ment  in  Ankara  responsible  by  saying  that   the   influx   of   illegal   immigrants   has   occurred  because  “Turkey  does  not  guard   its  borders”  (,  2012b).   According   to   information   from   the   House   of   Lords:   European   Union   Committee   (2008)   “Greece   with   its   3,000   islands   has   the   longest   maritime   border   of   any   member   state”   (p.   18).   The   length   of   the   border  makes  it  challenging  for  the  Greek   authorities  to  patrol  it  properly  even  with   the   assistance   and   help   from   Frontex   (European  Agency  for  the  Management  of      

Operational Cooperation   at   the   External   Borders).  In  order  to  diminish  the  number   of   illegal   immigrants,   Greece   announced   this   February   that   it   would   build   a   12   km   long   fence   to   guard   the   border   areas   south   of   the   river   Evros   and   sought   financial  support  from  the  European  Com-­‐ mission   to   cover   the   cost   of   the   5  million   euro   project.   In   her   negative   response   to   the   quest,   European   Commissioner   for   Home  Affairs,  Cecilia  Malmström  said  that   “it   [the   fence]   would   not   effectively   discourage   immigrants   or   smugglers   who   would   simply   seek   alternative   routes   into   the   European   Union,   either   via   another   section   of   Greece’s   porous   border   with   Turkey   or   through   the   border   of   another   EU   member   state”   (Ekathimerini,   2011).   Kadıoğlu   (2011)   criticized   the   decision   of   the   Greek   government   for   starting   a   new   Iron   Curtain   era:   “The   downfall   of   the   Ber-­‐ lin   Wall   garnered   hopes   in   many   people   that   the   twenty   first   century   would   be   a   century  of  ‘no  walls.’  [.  .  .]  Today,  in  2011,   a  new  fence,  if  not  a  wall,  is  in  the  making.   This   is   a   fence   that   will   be   built   by   the   Greek  authorities  along  the  Greek-­‐Turkish   border”   (p.   24).   The   fence   is   to   be   finished   by   autumn   2012,   but   its   effectiveness   is  




migrants. In   January   2012   the   total   number   of   refugees,   asylum   seekers,   stateless  persons  and  persons  who  do  not   The  governments  of  Germany  and  Austria   fall   into   the   earlier   categories,   but   to   have   been   putting   pressure   on   EU   by   whom   the   Office   of   the   United   Nations   announcing   that   they   would   seek   to   High  Commissioner  for  Refugees  (UNHCR)   abolish  one  of  the  fundamental  Schengen   extends   protection   and/or   assistance   in   rules  and  introduce  visa  control  “if  Athens   Turkey,   was   35,785   (Office   of   the   United   does   not   act”   (,   2012a).   The   Nations   High   Commissioner   for   Refugees,   issue   of   insufficient   security   at   external   2012).   The   statistics   of   the   UNHCR   (2012)   borders   created   major   crisis   between   EU   further  reveal  that,  “since  the  beginning  of   institutions  in  June  2012,  when  Justice  and   2011,  an  overall  increase  of  60  percent  in   Home   Affairs   Council   adopted   amend-­‐ new   arrivals   [to   Turkey]   was   observed”   ments   to   Schengen   Borders   Code   and   mostly   due   to   political   struggle   in   Syria,   made   it   possible   for   which   continues   to   this   member   states   to   intro-­‐ Given  that  approximately  22,500   day.   It   has   been   estima-­‐ duce   checks   at   internal   illegal  migrants  crossed  to  the   borders   of   the   Schengen   Schengen  area  from  Turkey  in  just   ted   that   the   number   of   Syrian   refugees,   who   zone   in   exceptional   cir-­‐ last  three  months  of  2011,  it  can   fled   to   Turkey   since   the   cumstances.   The   Danish   be  assumed  that  the  number  of   beginning   of   the   civil   presidency  was  condem-­‐ persons  to  be  returned  to  Turkey   war,  has  reached  70,000   ned   by   MEPs   for   bypass-­‐ once  the  readmission  agreement   (Hürriyet   Daily   News,   ing   the   European   Parlia-­‐ is  in  force,  will  be  significant.   2012b).   Given   that   ment,   i.e.   institution   approximately   22,500   that  enjoys  co-­‐legislative   illegal   migrants   crossed   to   the   Schengen   power,   when   enacting   the   amendment.   area  from  Turkey  in  just  last  three  months   The   leaders   of   the   political   groups   of   2011,   it   can   be   assumed   that   the   consequently   decided   to   “suspend   its   number   of   persons   to   be   returned   to   [European   Parliament’s]   cooperation   with   Turkey   once   the   readmission   agreement   is   the   Council   on   [.   .   .]   five   dossiers”   (Euro-­‐ in  force,  will  be  significant.   pean   Parliament,   2012)   related   to   justice   and  home  affairs  portfolio.  

Basing on   these   developments,   it   can   be   claimed   that   enforcement   of   the   read-­‐ mission   agreement   between   EU   and   Turkey,  which  would,  among  other  things,   strengthen   control   on   the   problematic   Greek-­‐Turkish   border,   is   of   great   interest   to   the   EU.   On   the   other   hand,   the   docu-­‐ ment,   if   ratified,   will   increase   the   burden   to   be   carried   by   Turkey,   which   “will   be   obliged   to   take   back   immigrants   who   cannot   be   sent   to   the   countries   of   their   origin   because   of   the   unstable   situation   there”   (Bürgin,   2011,   p.   1).   Because   of   its   geopolitical   position,   Turkey   has   become   home   to   a   large   population   of   irregular      

Being aware   of   the   consequences,   the   Turkish   government   refused   to   initial   the   readmission   agreement   without   explicit   promise   from   the   EU   to   link   the   nego-­‐ tiations  with  visa  liberalization  talks.  When   the   text   of   the   agreement   was   finalized   and   endorsed   by   the   Justice   and   Home   Affairs   Council   in   February   2011,   Ahmet   Davutoğlu   explained   Turkey’s   dismissive   position   in   the   following   way:   “Today’s   reports   are   talking   about   a   visa   dialogue   without  a   clear  target  for  visa  exemption.   Our   stance   is   clear.   Turkey   in   no   way   accepts  a  treatment  different  than  that  of   any   other   country”   (Hürriyet   Daily   News,   2011).   Paul   (2012)   indicates   that   EU   was  


doubted   not   only   by   the   Commissioner,   but  also  by  some  of  the  member  states.  


unable   to   meet   Ankara’s   request   due   to   a   stalemate   similar   to   the   one,   which   disagreement   among   member   states:   occurred   as   a   consequence   of   pending   “Germany,   Austria,   Cyprus   and   the   solution   of   the   Cyprus   problem   and   Netherlands   in   particular   have   been   requirements  introduced  by  the  provisions   opposed   to   giving   Turkey   a   visa-­‐free   of  the  Additional  Protocol,  will  be  avoided   regime”  (p.  29).  Following  consent  among   this  time.     all   countries,   EU   finally   managed   to   have   Turkey   initial   the   document   in   June   2012.   While   some   believe   (Gültaşlı,   2012)   that   Visa   policies   between   Turkey   and   the   visa   liberalization   initiative   was   EU   formulated   in   a   very   vague   way   thus   making   it   possible   for   the   process   to   be   Following   its   general   practice   on   visa   open-­‐ended,   the   Turkish   diplomats   are   facilitation/liberalization   talks,   European   determined   to   achieve   their   goal   and   Commission   prepared   the   first   draft   of   enable  visa  free  travel  for  Turkish  citizens.   Turkey’s   roadmap   to   visa-­‐free   travel   in   Unlike   in   the   open-­‐ended   process   of   June   2012.   The   document   entitled   Dialo-­‐ membership   talks,   where   EU   enjoys   an   gue   and   Cooperation   Framework   on   incomparable   leverage,   the   talks   on   visa   Justice   and   Home   Affairs   between   the   EU   facilitation   and   readmission   agreement   and   Turkey:   Action   Plan   Towards   Visa   provide   enough   space   for   Turkey   to   Liberalization   is   to   be   revised   in   the   light   maneuver  in  order  to  deliver  the  targeted   of   feedback   given   by   the   EU   member   outcome.   The   press   states  as  well  as  relevant   release   from   the   26th   Directorate   Generals   of   Unlike  in  the  open-­‐ended  process   reform   monitoring   the   European   Commi-­‐ of  membership  talks,  where  EU   group   meeting   of   the   ssion   and   is   expected   to   enjoys  an  incomparable  leverage,   Turkish   Ministry   for   EU   be   finalized   by   autumn   the  talks  on  visa  facilitation  and   Affairs   unveils   the   non-­‐ 2012.   According   to   inter-­‐ readmission  agreement  provide   comprising   conditional   views   conducted   by   enough  space  for  Turkey  to   strategy   to   be   pursued   Gültaşlı   (2012),   Turkish   maneuver  in  order  to  deliver  the   by   the   Turkish   govern-­‐ officials   expect   that,   targeted  outcome.   ment:   “Turkey   will   sign   “input  by  member  coun-­‐ the   Agreement   when   the   detailed   action   tries   could   result   in   the   text   being   longer   plan   with   the   ultimate   aim   of   visa   free   and   stronger   in   terms   of   its   conditions.”   regime  is  prepared  and  submitted.  Finally,   The   roadmap   requires   Turkey   to   meet   all   the  Readmission  Agreement  will  enter  into   listed  conditions  and  implement  extensive   force   simultaneously   when   Schengen   visas   reforms   related   to   issues   such   as   border   for   Turkish   citizens   are   lifted”   (Ministry   for   control,   passport   security,   migration   EU   Affairs   of   the   Republic   of   Turkey,   management,   organized   crime,   human   2012b,   p.   3).   The   delegation   of   the   trafficking   and   other.   The   process,   to   be   Republic   of   Cyprus   has   already   expressed   closely   monitored   by   the   European   “serious   misgivings   regarding   Turkey’s   Commission,   is   expected   to   last   for   a   intentions   to   implement   the   agreement   couple  of  years.     with   Cyprus”   (Council   of   the   European   Turkish   diplomats   and   statesmen   believe   Union,   2011,   p.   2).   However   because   the   that   the   talks   represent   an   important   visa-­‐free   travel   will   have   to   be   approved   milestone   in   the   chronicle   of   EU-­‐Turkey   by   qualified   majority   vote   rather   than   relations.   Ahmet   Davutoğlu   said   that   the   unanimous,   it   is   possible   to   presume   that      




day,   when   the   readmission   agreement   covers   also   the   following   categories   of   was   initiated   in   an   exchange   for   the   visa   travelers:   “businessmen,   lawyers,   sports-­‐ liberalization   negotiations,   was   “a   historic   people,  doctors  and  academics,  as  well  as   moment”   (Hürriyet   Daily   News,   2012c).   Turkish   citizens   who   wish   to   travel   to   EU   However,   professor   at   Yeditepe   Universi-­‐ countries   for   touristic,   study-­‐related   or   ty,  Haluk  Kabaalioğlu  believes  that  Turkey   medical  purposes”  (,  2009b).   does   not   need   to   undergo   the   process,   Before  EU  added  Turkey  to  its  negative  list   because   its   citizens   are   already   legally   in   2001,   individual   visa   policies   towards   entitled   to   visa-­‐free   travel.   He   bases   his   Turkey   differed   from   country   to   country.   argument   on   the   ruling   In   most   cases,   bilateral   of   the   European   Court   The  total  number  of  arriving  EU   visa   regimes   were   intro-­‐ of   Justice   in   the   Soysal   citizens  (excluding  Republic  of   duced   approximately   case4   in   2009,   which   Cyprus  and  Malta)  in  2011  was   three  decades  ago.  Aktar   implied  that  “visas  were   16,968,791  thus  constituting   (2012)   explains   that   the   not   required   for   the   more  than  one  half  of  the  sum  of   decision   was   a   direct   Turkish   citizens   [enter-­‐ all  visitors  to  Turkey  during  the   consequence   of   domes-­‐ ing   the   territory   of   a   year.  The  top  five  EU  countries   tic   developments   in   Tur-­‐ member   state   in   order   having  the  greatest  share  were   key:  “EU  countries  began   to   provide   services],   for   Germany,  United  Kingdom,   to   require   visas   from   whom   such   a   restriction   Bulgaria,  Netherlands  and  France.   citizens  of  Turkey  due  to   did  not  apply  at  the  time   the   asylum   pressure   of  the  entry  into  force  of   following  the  September  12,  1980  military   the  Additional  Protocol  to  the  Association   coup   in   Turkey.   Greece   had   started   visa   Agreement,   concluded   between   the   EEC   requirements   earlier,   after   Turkish   citizens   [European   Economic   Community]   and   of   Greek   origin   were   expelled   from   Turkey   on   23   November   1970”   Istanbul   in   1964”   (p.   38).   Despite   the   (,  2009a).  Kabaalioğlu  further   existence   of   the   negative   list,   significant   claims   that   despite   the   fact   that   the   number   of   Turkish   citizens   has   been   decisions  of  the  European  Court  of  Justice   entitled   to   visa-­‐free   travel   thanks   to   the   are   binding,   member   states   have   been   so-­‐called   green/special   passports,   which   reluctant   to   comply   with   the   ruling.   He   automatically   grant   their   holders   right   to   identifies   two   grey   areas   in   the   decision   of   enter   EU   territory   without   obtaining   visa.   the   Court,   which   make   it   possible   for   EU   The   Turkish   Ministry   of   Interior   issued   countries   to   argue   in   support   of   continu-­‐ 1,065,000  green/special  passports5  (Gene-­‐ ation   of   their   hitherto   visa   practice   ral   Directorate   of   Mint   and   Printing   Office,   towards  Turkey:  “One  of  them  is  whether   2012)   between   2007   and   April   2012.   ‘freedom   to   provide   services’   covers   However,   given   that   the   number   of   service   recipients   and   the   other   one   is   normal  passports  issues    during    the    same   which   EU   member   states   are   encom-­‐ passed”   (,   2009b).   In   his                                                                                                               opinion,   however,   reference   to   “service”   5                                                                                                             4   For   more   information   see:   European   Court   of  

Justice. (2009,   February   19).   Judgement   of   the   Court   (First   Chamber).   Mehmet   Soysal   and   Ibrahim   Savatli   v   Bundesrepublik   Deutschland.   Case   C-­‐ 228/06.    


Special/green   passports   are   issued   to   former   members   of   the   Grant   National   Assembly   of   the   Republic   of   Turkey;   former   ministers;   first,   second   and   third   grade   public   servants   and   other   government   officials;   mayors;   heads   of   metropolitan  provinces  as  well  as  to  their  spouses   and  children  (e-­‐Pasaport:  Bilgi  ve  Randevu  Merkezi,   2012).  





Table  no.  2  

Up to  90  days  without  visa  

Bulgaria, Czech  Republic,  Denmark,  Estonia,  Finland,   France,   Germany,   Greece,   Italy,   Lithuania,   Luxemburg,  Romania,  Slovenia,  Sweden  

Up to  30  days  without  visa  


3-­‐month multiple  entry  visa  

Austria, Belgium,   Hungary,   Ireland,   Malta,   Netherlands,   Poland,   Portugal,   Spain,   United   Kingdom  

1-­‐month multiple  entry  visa  


1-­‐month single  entry  visa  

Republic of  Cyprus    

Source: Ministry  of  Foreign  Affairs  of  the  Republic  of  Turkey  (2012b).     period   has   been   seven   times   larger,   most   In   its   Turkey   2011   Progress   Report,   Turkish   citizens   are   still   required   to   European   Commission   (2011b)   criticized   undergo   a   rather   lengthy   application   Turkey   for   not   applying   “a   uniform   policy   process   in   order   to   travel   to   EU.   According   towards  all  EU  citizens  as  regards  the  visa   to  the  results  presented  in  the  study  of  the   obligation”  (p.  92).  However,  compared  to   European   Stability   Initiative   (2012),   “In   the   application   process   to   obtain   Schen-­‐ 2011,   Schengen   states   issued   591,950   gen  visa,  Turkey’s  visa  policy,  even  though   short-­‐term   visas   to   Turkish   citizens.   In   not   unified   (see   Table   no.   2),   is   rather   total,   they   issued   12.64   million   short-­‐stay   liberal.  Citizens  of  those  EU  countries,  who   visas   to   applicants   from   across   the   world,   are  required  to  have  visa,  can  easily  obtain   which   means   that   the   Turkish   share   was   them   upon   their   arrival   at   the   Turkish   4.7   percent”   (p.   3).   The   application   for   border.   No   additional   documentation   Schengen   visa,   which   cost   60   euro,   must   except  for  a  valid  return  ticket  is  required.   not   be   submitted   sooner   than   three   The   visa   fee   is   15   euro6   (Ministry   of   months   before   the   starting   date   of   the   Foreign   Affairs   of   the   Republic   of   Turkey,   journey   and   must   include   the   following   2012a).  The  approach  applied  by  Turkey  is   documents:   filled   in   application   form,   motivated   by   cost-­‐effective   factors.   Accor-­‐ colorful   photograph,   valid   travel   docu-­‐ ding   to   a   report   assessing   the   role   of   ment,  documents  testifying  purpose  of  the   tourism   industry,   “Turkish   tourism   sector   visit,   return   ticket,   proof   of   accommo-­‐ has   been   one   of   the   most   important   dation,   proof   of   sufficient   funds/financial   drivers   behind   Turkey’s   economic   deve-­‐ means,   and   international   travel   medical   lopment   over   recent   decades.   In   2009,   insurance.  If  necessary,  the  issuing  institu-­‐ combined   with   the   travel   sector,   the   tion   can   request   additional   documents.                                                                                                               The   period   of   the   administrative   process-­‐ 6   The   only   exception   is   Malta.   Citizens   of   Malta   ing   of   the   visa   application   can   last   from   15   up   to   60   days   (Migration   Information   Center,  2012).      

entitled to   3-­‐month   multiple   entry   visa   are   free   from   the   visa   fee   (Ministry   of   Foreign   Affairs   of   the   Republic  of  Turkey,  2012a).  



industry   generated   95.3   TL   [Turkish   lira]   billion   of   economic   activity   –   approxima-­‐ tely   10.2   percent   of   Turkey’s   GDP   [gross   domestic   product]”   (Republic   of   Turkey   Prime  Ministry,  2010,  p.  3).  Data  from  the   Turkish   Statistical   Institute   (2012)   show   that   the   total   number   of   arriving   EU   citizens  (excluding  Republic  of  Cyprus  and   Malta)   in   2011   was   16,968,791   thus   constituting   more   than   one   half   of   the   sum   of   all   visitors   to   Turkey   during   the   year.  The  top  five  EU  countries  having  the   greatest   share   were   Germany,   United   Kingdom,   Bulgaria,   Netherlands   and   France.   Basing   on   the   large   number   of   tourists,   it   can   be   argued   that   EU   citizens   do   not   face   any   significant   technical   obstacles   when   traveling   to   Turkey.   Reciprocally,   Turkish   citizens,   as   citizens   of   one  of  the  candidate  countries,  should  be   entitled   to   a   simplified   visa   application   process   with   prospects   for   gradual   abolition   of   EU’s   visa   regime.   In   this   respect,   EU’s   decision   to   start   visa   liberalization   talks   with   Turkey,   even   though   delayed,   has   been   a   critical   development.                                    

LENKA PEŤKOVÁ   Lenka  Peťková  is  a  project  officer  at  GPoT   Center.   She   received   her   MA   degree   in   European  studies  from  the  Comenius  Uni-­‐ versity   in   Bratislava.   During   her   bachelor   studies  at  the  same  university  she  majored   in   international   relations.   She   was   an   exchange   student   at   Istanbul   Kültür   Uni-­‐ versity  when  writing  both  her  Master  and   Bachelor   theses   on   the   EU-­‐Turkey   rela-­‐ tions  and  the  Cyprus  issue.     The   opinions   and   conclusion   expressed   herein   are   those   of   the   individual   author(s)   and   do   not   necessarily   reflect   the   views   of   GPoT   Center   or   Istanbul   Kültür  University      


11 030.en05.pdf   Aktar,   C.   (2012).   The   positive   agenda   and   beyond:   A   new   beginning   for   the   EU-­‐ Turkey   relations?   Insight   Turkey,   14(3),   35-­‐43.     Bağış,  E.  (2012b,  July  14).  Visa  restrictions   are   shutting   Turkey   out   of   the   EU.   The   Guardian.   Retrieved   August   17,   2012   from mentisfree/2012/jul/14/visa-­‐restriction s-­‐turkey-­‐eu     Bağış,  E.  (2012a,  May  17).  Positive  agenda   kick  off  meeting  held.  Istanbul:  Office  of   the   Minister   for   EU   Affairs   and   Chief   Negotiator.   Retrieved   August   19,   2012   from     Bağış,   E.   (2011,   February   14).   Access   all   areas.   The   Parliament.   Retrieved   August  21,  2012  from  http://www.thep­‐focus/enlargeme nt/enlargement-­‐article/newsarticle/acc ess-­‐all-­‐areas/#.UCJ3nESgQ7o    

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EU's Readmission Agreement and Visa Liberalization Talks with Turkey  

In her Policy Brief, Lenka Peťková argues that even though the EU’s decision to start visa liberalization talks with Turkey was delayed, it...

EU's Readmission Agreement and Visa Liberalization Talks with Turkey  

In her Policy Brief, Lenka Peťková argues that even though the EU’s decision to start visa liberalization talks with Turkey was delayed, it...